While we are busy with our routine work and responsibilities, how many times do we actually stop and pay attention to our breathing? Well, frankly speaking, may be not even a single time! The reason is that breathing is supposed to be very habitual and universal and hence goes unobserved. However, the truth is that breathing, is mainly the function of lungs, which have some amazing powers in store. Learn about some important facts about lungs, its anatomy, function, role in respirations and talking and tips to keep lungs healthy.

About Lungs

Though nose is the exterior respiratory organ, which inhales air, the real work of exchange of air and oxygenating your body is done by the lungs. The lungs are mainly in charge of taking in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide and other waste gases from the body, through breathing. And yes, being the only organ that can float in your body, the lungs have some breath-taking facts, you would be astonished to know about.

Anatomy of Lungs

Anatomy of Lungs

Here are some quick facts that would give you an insight into the lungs anatomy or structure.

  • Present in a pair just like eyes and kidneys, human lungs weigh together to 2.9 pounds. Surprisingly, the left lung is lighter than its right counterpart.
  • Being smaller in size, the left lung consist of two lobes unlike the bigger right lung that comprises of three lobes.
  • There is a difference in the structure too just like size and weight between the two lung sides. A “small place” designed to accommodate human heart called as “cardiac notch” is present inside the left lung which is absent in the case of right lung.
  • The two lungs together are made up of millions of air like sacs or pouches called as alveoli. Measuring as less as 10 micrometers, the alveoli’s are not thicker than cell membrane yet are present in huge quantity which can be somewhere between 300 to 500 million. Known as the actual site for the oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange, they are located at the end of airway passage that runs about 1500 miles and appears as a continuous mesh of capillary network.
  • Capillaries are nothing but tiny blood vessels surrounding the alveoli. If they are made to unwound and placed along the length end to end, they can be long enough to cover an area of 992 kilometers.
  • As per the measurements, lung surface area in humans varies from 70 to 100 square metres. On the conversion norms, the internal surface area of lungs corresponds to the total area measured along one side of a tennis court.
  • Just the way heart is protected via the sturdy rib cage; human lungs are also protected via the same that are well connected with the spinal cord and the sternum known as the chest bone.
  • With every breath you take, human ribs move about accounting to a total of 5 million round the year!
  • Breathing is characterized by expansion of lungs which is possible via a dome shaped structure called the diaphragm.
  • As the diaphragm squeezes, the oxygen is inhaled and carbon dioxide is exhaled through its expansion. Therefore, diaphragm has an important role to play and in case of any malfunction, it could create breathing problems in humans. Alternatively, rib muscles can also help in breathing in case the diaphragm tends to get malfunctioned making you stay alive!

Function of Lungs

Here are some facts that give an idea of the function of lungs and the important roles they play in keeping you healthy.

Role of Lungs in Respiration

Known to control respiration, human lungs do a lot than simple oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange! While many people still confuse between the terms breathing and respiration, it is important to understand the difference between them sooner or later.

Breathing is a simple aerobic activity where oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide is filtered out. Respiration, on the other hand is the anaerobic breakdown of oxygen leading to release of energy utilized by the cells. It is vital to understand here is that breathing forms a part of respiration, without which oxygen cannot enter the human body. So, lungs help to process oxygen while nose is involved in atmospheric exchange of gases called breathing.

Lungs Do Play A Role In Talking!

Surprised, though not directly, but yes the amount of air that enters and goes out via the lungs can significantly affect your sound volume and pitch. Just above the wind pipe also called as trachea, is an area called the larynx. Larynx or the voice box comprises of vocal cords and ridges which produce sound via their open and close movement.

Tips to Keep Lungs Healthy

While we have already garnered the fact that lungs are so vital to human body, do we make any efforts to keep them stay in optimum health? The good news is that body has a natural antibody system to fight against diseases and foreign bodies keeping things normal. Yet, unhealthy life changes, growing pollution, exposure to contaminants etc. can increase the chances of lung disease. Hence it is important to make every effort to keep our lungs healthy. Here are some tips to keep your lungs healthy. It is important to know about basic lung diseases and strive to prevent them to keep lungs healthy.

Some diseases that can severely affect your lungs include tuberculosis, bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. Several infections, allergies, pollutants and other medical conditions can affect lungs in various ways. It is therefore necessary to prevent such ailments and treat them at the earliest, if present.

Small yet significant changes in daily life including dietary control can promote lung wellness and productivity. Following a healthy lifestyle can help keep lung diseases at bay and help keep lungs healthy.

Here are some tips to keep lungs healthy.

Say No to Smoking to Keep Lungs Healthy

The first step to keep your lungs healthy is to refrain from smoking and pollution of any kind. Cigarette or tobacco smoking can do a great harm to your lungs and can even cause life threatening diseases like cancer and COPD.

While smokers should avoid smoking, the non-smokers should also avoid coming in contact with the same as that could trigger lung toxicity.

  • Stay away from places where public smoking is allowed.
  • Keep a check on your premises and workplace.
  • Avoid exposure to contaminants

Invest in an air purifier if you live around a polluted area. Good quality air purifiers can go a long way in keeping harmful pollutants away from home, thereby reducing the risk of airborne diseases which could otherwise bring a great toll to your health.

Exercise Regularly to Keep Lungs Health

A 10 to 15 minute deep breathing asana could help to boost oxygen levels in the body promoting good health for your lungs. Moreover, such exercises are also helpful in flushing out toxins that might have accumulated over time. Yoga, deep breathing exercises and asana or different yoga poses help to regulate breathing patterns and keep your lungs healthy.

To begin sit in a warm and comforting place. Close your eyes and start breathing in through your nose. Inhale and exhale slowly and repeat for 5 to 6 times. Alternatively, you could join some yoga class to learn the technique before you could practice yourself daily.

Other forms of exercises that build up your aerobic capacity are important too. You could choose to walk, swim, jog, ride a bicycle, dance or perform aerobics. Any of these exercises, when performed regularly can give you great health benefits, improve your breathing and also keep your lungs healthy.

Practice Music - Vocal and Instrument

Playing a wind instrument like tuba, clarinet or saxophone also helps to promote lung health by acting as an exercise improving their capacity to function well and drive more air. On the other hand, vocal singing helps to improve diaphragm activity that plays an important role in breathing. Also, as a fun exercise, simply try blowing out some balloons to increase your lung capacity to pump in and out more air.

These small changes and measures will not only help to keep your lungs healthy but also reduce the risk of several illnesses. After knowing the breath-taking facts about your lungs and with the tips to keep lungs healthy, you can surely plan a healthy routine for yourself to protect your lungs and overall health.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 20, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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